Category Archives: Lebanon

ASHEKMAN: Covering And Replacing Ugly Political Slogans With Beautiful Graffiti Murals

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graf1

The highly talented ASHEKMAN brothers have been covering the ugly political slogans and stencils from Beirut’s walls way before the Ministry of Interior decided to do so, and they’ve been sending out positive messages through their amazing graffiti murals, Arabic calligraphy, as well as Arabic rap music and street wear.

For those of you who are not familiar with ASHEKMAN, it was established in 2001 by identical twin brothers Mohamed & Omar Kabbani. Recently, Beirut’s municipality decided to remove their “To Be Free Or Not” mural in Achrafieh instead of encouraging and sponsoring young Lebanese artists to remove the ugliness from the city’s walls and replace them with beautiful artwork.

ASHEKMAN are not planning to slowdown anytime soon and have many upcoming murals to paint in Beirut, so stay tuned!

Here are five of my favorite ASHEKMAN murals:

IMG_1950

IMG_1951

IMG_1952

IMG_1953

IMG_1954

Animal Abuse Will Soon Be Illegal In Lebanon!

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law is appro

The Animal protection and welfare law has been finally approved by the council of ministers and will soon be presented to the parliament! Animals Lebanon have been working for 3 years now to implement this law and have collected over 25,000 signatures for that purpose and their efforts have finally paid off.

It’s about time animal abuse becomes illegal in Lebanon and we are almost there!

Council of Ministers gives the animal protection and welfare law their official approval! Announced in the National News Agency and on LBC after yesterdays cabinet session, the draft law was one of 15 items discussed. This law regulates industries and establishments that use animals and will finally give all animals the legal protection they need.
Thank you to all of the Ministers for backing this campaign from the very beginning, Prime Minister Tamam Salam, Minister of Agriculture Akram Chehayeb, former Minister of Agriculture Hussein Hajj Hassan, the Ministry staff, and every one of our supporters for making this campaign possible. Now on to Parliament – and a better future for animals!

So A Beirut Graffiti That Says “To be free, or not to be” Is A Threat To Civil Peace Now?

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graffiti

The beautiful Tabaris mural that was painted by the awesome ASHEKMAN brothers was removed today by the Beirut municipality, as part of the campaign to remove “all political slogans” from Beirut. I don’t understand how this graffiti has anything to do with the stupid redundant political slogans that were being removed today, noting that ASHEKMAN and March NGO had received an authorization from Beirut’s governor and the building owner to draw this graffiti. Moreover, Beirut’s municipality should be supporting and sponsoring such positive messages and art works instead of painting over them!

I think we should regroup the soonest in the same place and help ASHEKMAN draw a bigger graffiti.

Check out the full story via [MARCH].

From Football Teammates In Lebanon To Sworn Enemies In Syria

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drama
Picture taken from Al Akhaa Ahli Aley Football Team Archive

This picture, which was shared by Hazem al Amin today, pretty much sums up how the Syrian Civil War has spilled over into Lebanon. It shows two Lebanese football players Ahmad Diab and Hussein el Amin celebrating a goal back in 2013 in a game against Ansar club.

Few months after this game, Ahmad Diab committed a terrorist suicide bombing while Hussein went to Syria to fight with Hezbollah. Both were members of the same football team and used to fight together to win every game, yet somehow turned into sworn enemies in a fight that is not even ours.

Here’s a [link] to the original article.

drama

Remembering Sarah el Khatib On World Cancer Day

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cancer via ArtSheep

Sara el Khatib was a 4th year pharmacy student at LAU and was battling cancer, living with an amputation and enduring the accompanying pain. Sara gave the below inspiring TEDx talk 14 days before she passed away, leaving us with 4 objects, symbolizing 4 lessons she had learned while battling cancer.

As brilliantly quoted in the poster above, cancer changes your live not the value of it. Let’s remember Sara, Simon and all those who lost the battle, as well as the survivors and all those battling cancer on this day.

[YouTube]

Beirut Marathon Officially One Of The 26 Exclusive Silver Races In The World!

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marathon

The BDL Beirut Marathon has been promoted to a SILVER Road Race by the International Association of Athletics Federation after it met all the organization’s quality requirements. Becoming a silver label marathon is very difficult and requires the participation of elite athletes, performing doping tests, ensuring proper road closures and safety measures, as well media coverage and others. Noting that there are only 26 other exclusive silver races in the world, this is a major achievement for Lebanon and the Beirut Marathon people who have been working for four years to earn this award.

Needless to say, I am definitely a huge supporter of this awesome annual run as it promotes peace, unity, causes and attracts more and more Lebanese every year. I run the 10k usually and my goal this year is to complete the race in less than 1 hour.

Congrats to all the Beirut Marathon people, to the runners, sponsors and all the supporters!

Could Melanie Freiha Have Been Saved? Why Aren’t There Medical Centers And Clinics Near Ski Resorts In Lebanon?

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ski Picture via Ralph Saade

Melanie Freiha is an 18-year old student who died in a ski accident last weekend in Kfardebian. I couldn’t figure out the exact circumstances of her tragic death but I know that it took some time to transfer her to the nearest hospital in Ajaltoun where she died during surgery. The same happened with Yves Nawfal as the roads were all covered with snow and the Red Cross needed some time to get to Saint Georges in Ajaltoun which is 30 minutes away if not more. Moreover, the Kfardebian – Faraya road is usually blocked due to traffic during weekends, specially in daytime, and we’ve all seen what happened the last time a poor guy tried to clear the way for an ambulance.

Having said all that, I think it’s about time the authorities or the concerned parties invest in building a proper emergency clinic next to ski resorts and in the Kfardebian area. I know for a fact that the Red Cross has a branch in Kfardebian but I don’t think they are equipped to receive and treat emergencies. We need a medical center that has a well trained ER team, as well as emergency physicians, trauma surgeons and nurses capable of evaluating injuries and treating minor ones, and assessing the severity of one’s injury and the need to transfer him to another clinic or hospital. If Melanie was given the necessary treatment in the first 60 minutes of the accident, also known as the golden hour, she could have had a better chance of surviving maybe.

Speaking of hospitals, it’s quite weird that we don’t have any good hospital in the whole Keserwan district which is one of Lebanon’s biggest districts. I’ve been to Saydit Lebnen, Saint Louis and Saint Georges and they are all average, if not below average, hospitals when compared to the ones in Beirut. Maybe it’s time that Lebanon’s Health Ministry tackles this serious problem and sets proper standards for hospitals.

Sincere condolences to Melanie’s family.

Melanie

Amal Clooney Is Representing Armenia in Genocide Trial

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amal

Amal Clooney is taking on her next big case, which is representing Armenia’s interests in a historic trial before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. The case is an appeal of a 2013 ruling by the Supreme Court of Europe, in which the court decided that a Swiss law prohibiting the public denial of the Armenian genocide is a violation of freedom of speech. Clooney will attempt to refute testimony from countries like Turkey who still deny the genocide that was committed by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 and that caused the death of 1.5 million Armenians. Amal was recently representing the 3 Al-Jazeera journalists arrested in Egypt and risked arrest for her positions.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and it’s about time Turkey recognizes the genocide and pays for its crimes!

[YouTube]

Here’s the full transcript of the first court session taken from the Telegraph:

Amal Clooney, the human rights barrister, has accused Turkey of double standards on freedom of expression for defending a Turkish Leftist who described the Armenian genocide an “international lie”.
Mrs Clooney, who is representing Armenia on behalf of Doughty Street Chambers along with Geoffrey Robertson QC, said Turkey’s stance was hypocritical “because of its disgraceful record on freedom of expression”, including prosecutions of Turkish-Armenians who campaign for the1915 massacres to be called a genocide.
She took on the case against Doğu Perinçek, chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Party and an MP, who was found guilty of genocide denial and racial discrimination in Switzerland in 2007, but had his conviction overturned by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after being defended by Turkey’s government.
The ECHR upheld his right to question in a “debate of clear public interest” and questioned if it was possible to define as a genocide, a policy of deliberate extermination, the massacres and deportations of Armenians by the Turks a century ago.
The human rights lawyer, who married George Clooney her Hollywood film star husband last September, accused the Strasbourg’s court’s human rights judges of being “simply wrong”.
“It cast doubt doubt of the reality of genocide that Armenian people suffered a century ago,” she said
“Armenia must have its day in court. The stakes could not be higher for the Armenian people.”
Switzerland has laws against the denial of all genocide as part of its anti-racism laws but the ECHR ruled that Mr Perinçek’s right to freedom of speech was violated when he was convicted as a criminal by a Swiss court for his claims.
In a December 2013 judgement, the European court concluded that there was not a “general consensus” that the massacres of Armenians had constituted genocide and that only 20 countries out of 190 worldwide classed it as such.
Only three European countries, Greece, Slovakia and Switzerland, ban the Armenian genocide denial. A French law was overturned on free speech grounds in the country’s constitutional court three years ago.
Speaking in Lausanne in 2005, Mr Perinçek had said that the legal definition of Armenian genocide was an “international lie”, but did not dispute that the killings and deportations had taken place.
Four and half minutes into her evidence of the historical record concerning events in 1915, including Ottoman Empire admissions of war crimes, the barrister was asked to conclude by the judges.
“Mrs Clooney may I draw your attention to the fact that the Armenian government has gone over the time allocated, so I ask you to conclude,” said Dean Spielmann, the president of the court.
She went on to insist that Armenia did not want to limit free speech or historical debate and accused Turkey of having double standards because of it’s own poor record on freedom of expression.
“Armenia is not here to argue against freedom of expression anymore than Turkey is here to defend it. This court knows very well how disgraceful Turkey’s record on freedom of expression is,” she said.
“You have found against the Turkish government in 224 separate cases on freedom of expression grounds.”
The Lebanese lawyer made a reference to Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor, who was prosecuted by Turkey for arguing that the 1915 massacres were genocide.
Mr Dink was then assassinated by a Turkish nationalist in 2007 for his views and ethnicity as an Armenian.
“Armenia has every interest in ensuring that its own citizens do not get caught in a net that criminalises speech too broadly. As the family of Hrant Dink know about all too well,” she said.
In his evidence to the court, Mr Perinçek denied any motivation to incite hatred against Armenians, telling judges that he had been imprisoned for speaking up for one of Turkey’s other ethnic minorities, the Kurds.
“We are here for the liberty of Europeans,” he said. “Liberty for those who criticise the established status quo.
“I share the pain of Armenian citizens, you can not find a word of mine that expresses antagonism against them. I hold the great powers responsible for what happened in 1915. There should be no taboos for the right to speak.”
His arguments were dismissed by Armenia’s legal team which was supporting Switzerland in defending the “unshakable” conviction.
Geoffrey Robertson QC accused Mr Perincek of being an admirer of Talaat Pasha, one of the organisers of the Armenian genocide, a man he said was the “Ottoman’s Empire’s Hitler”.
Mr Robertson argued that the Turkish Left-wing nationalist had travelled Europe deliberately trying to provoke a conviction for genocide denial in order to “arouse his supporters in Turkey”.
“It was made by a man who only came to Switzerland in order to be convicted. That was his purpose. He went to Germany, France, at the end of the day he tried to go Greece to expostulate but was turned away. He is genocide denier forum shopper,” he said.
“He is an incurable genocide denier, a criminal and a vexatious litigant.”
Asked by the Telegraph about fevered speculation about what she would be wearing for the court appearance, Mrs Clooney laughed and pointed to her black barrister’s robes.
“I’m wearing Ede and Ravenscroft,” she joked, in a reference to the famous English company of legal robe makers and tailors since 1689.
Mr Robertson said he was was surprised at the rows of photographers when legal teams entered the court, which does not generally excite press attention or attract packs of photographers.
He said he was pleased that coverage of the case would focus attention on Mrs Clooney’s career as a lawyer rather than her private life as the wife of a film celebrity, Hollywood actor and director.
“It is not about white gloves or yachts. It puts the record straight, she is a human rights lawyer,” he said.